Interview with a Nutritarian: Kurt

When I met my husband, Kurt, over 30 years ago, he was a bon a fide cowboy. Being athletic, he was fit and trim and rarely had a health concern so he never went to a doctor. He also had the uncanny ability to only eat when hungry. Even if there were only a couple bites of his favorite pie left on a plate, and he was full, he couldn’t take another bite. However, he was a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy; a 16 oz steak and baked potato slathered with butter was the ultimate meal.

Over time, Kurt traded his saddle in for a computer to financially support raising our family, and his life became sedentary. However, his diet changed considerably about four years ago when I decided to embark on a health makeover by following Eat to Live. For over three years Kurt’s meals at home consisted of high-nutrient foods, but he affectionately called his way of eating “Fuhrman-Lite”. He basically followed the principles of nutritarian eating about 70% of the time, but his daily lunches out consisted of fried chicken dinners, Greek specials or Subway sandwiches and chips, and he loved to treat himself to chocolate shakes, cookies, and candy bars on a regular basis. Since he wasn’t significantly overweight he continued to enjoy his daily splurges.

Last year, at age 53 he was experiencing frequent chest pains. It occurred when under stress at work, exercising or exerting himself, and eventually he started to be more and more uncomfortable even at rest, while sitting and lying down. He’d even re-position the seatbelt shoulder strap while driving, thinking that may be the cause of the pain. It increased over several months, but he didn’t talk much about it or go to a doctor. 

Thankfully, Dr. Fuhrman came to my hometown to speak at an all-day Health Immersion, and I happened to mention Kurt’s symptoms to him, and he spoke to Kurt about them.  Dr. Fuhrman was immediately concerned and said that Kurt was experiencing unstable angina; that he had one or more arteries that were over 90% blocked. Even with Dr. Fuhrman telling him the gravity of his life-threatening situation, Kurt continued to eat the standard American diet for another week until his blood pressure shot up dangerously high one morning. (Dr. Fuhrman had instructed him to check his blood pressure on a daily basis). That afternoon he was sweating, had pain in his neck and left arm, and felt terrible overall. The denial was over, and Kurt instantly became a fully committed nutritarian. That was a year ago this week.  Welcome to Disease Proof, Kurt.

 

What was your life like before fully committing to the nutritarian eating-style?

I was tired and didn’t feel well most of the time, but because the symptoms developed so gradually, I accepted them as normal. It was challenging for me to go for a walk down the road, and I usually had to take a nap after lunch every day but didn’t realize it was connected to the food that I was eating. I also had chest pain, eventually even when sitting and lying down. I was concerned about the pains and knew that I needed to change my eating habits, but the thought of giving up meat was the biggest obstacle that kept me from fully doing it. Being married to you [Emily] I thought I was eating “healthy enough” at home, at least healthier than I had for most of my life so I was relatively content. 

 

How do you feel now?

I have a lot more energy now, and I can walk briskly without exertion. I wake up rested every morning, and I no longer need a nap after lunch. I lost over 25 lbs those first three months, (and dropped a clothing size), and I’ve been maintaining that weight since. My blood pressures are consistently under 115/75, and the ongoing chest pains are gone.

I used to get a lot of sinus infections during the winter months, but I haven’t been sick this entire year; not even a cold. I’m a computer consultant and work on client’s computer systems. Invariably someone at a customer’s site is sick so I’m exposed to a lot of bugs, but I haven't caught anything all year.  I can even smell things now that I couldn’t before, and my taste buds have greatly improved. Foods and beverages that I used to like, I don’t even like anymore; including milk, pop, and lemonade, and foods that I used to not like, I now enjoy.  

 

 Do you have any success tip(s) to share?

 

  • It’s important to have a good understanding of Dr. Fuhrman’s teachings. Emily had tried to encourage me to read Eat to Live, but reading it just wasn’t that big of a deal to me.  I saw her success after many years of fad dieting and gimmicks that didn’t work so I knew this was the “real deal”. I knew it was the healthiest way to eat, but I wasn’t ready to fully embrace the changes for myself. Then Dr. Fuhrman came to Fort Wayne for the Health Immersion, and I listened to his lectures and they made a lot of sense. I finally understood that in order to reverse heart disease there could be no margin for cheating. It clicked, even though I still wasn’t ready to give it 100%. 

  • It’s helpful to have support from others. Most likely I could’ve changed on my own, because I was desperate to reverse my blocked arteries, but Emily’s ongoing support has been a huge contributing factor to my success. 

  • Be persistent and give it time. If unsalted food doesn’t taste that good to you in the beginning, be patient, because eventually your taste buds will change and you’ll enjoy the subtle flavors of foods without salt. It really does happen.   

 

In a nutshell, what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

It has changed my entire family’s life. First, Emily got her health back, and now all of us are eating healthy and feeling better because of it.  Plus we’ve all been spared a lot of unnecessary and costly suffering and tragedy as well. 

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Lois - March 27, 2013 11:53 AM

I am SO thankful for you both. Your lives have touched others in ways you will never know. God surely knew what He was doing when He put you two together. :-)

Kathleen - March 27, 2013 11:58 AM

Kurt's story sounds so much like my own husband today. He doesn't have chest pain but with a huge family history of diabetes I am concerned that he is doing damage to himself by only eating ETL while at home. When he is out during the day he eats cheeseburgers, snickers and Dr Pepper and even at home he has not given up his thousand Island dressing. I have tried one or two of the Dr F dressings and he ate them because he doesn't want to waste anything but he didn't like them so I stopped trying to find one that would suit. I will get back to finding one he likes or loves! I would love to get him to the immersion in June and will try my best. He is very supportive of my conversion to ETL but I just can't convince him that he needs to be 100%. He is very active and has lost 25 lbs even on 75% ETL but could stand to lose another 20 to 25 lbs. I will have him read this interview and maybe it will click for him.

Dawn - March 27, 2013 4:49 PM

Thanks! This was inspirational.

cj - March 27, 2013 9:28 PM

I started using salsa for salad dressing.

lee silverstein - March 27, 2013 9:58 PM

appreciation to you and all who have shared their stories...we learn deeply from others who are brave enough to share their journey..never underestimate your importance...GOOD FOR YOU! LEE

Lisa C. - March 27, 2013 10:33 PM

I agree that tastes change over time. When I first started ETL, unsalted food tasted bland. But I stuck with it, and afteer a couple months I could not stand salted food! Also many recipes, especially for things like tofu meatballs and stir-sauted portabella mushrooms, were not appealing to me at all in the beginning, but now they make my mouth water. It's worth the effort!

Dianne K. - May 7, 2013 7:26 AM

Thanks for sharing your great story, 'Mr. Emily'!

You are both an inspiration, fun to watch and learn about. It's also really WONDERFUL that you stuck together thru all this.

You could teach young couples a lot about the benefits of hanging in there thru life's ups, downs and sideways spins and learning together - and separately - to find the road to a happy health future. THANKS FOR SHARING! Best wishes to you, both. :)

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